Kerr Lake areas managed by Corps to close
If a federal budget compromise is not reached by Friday, recreation areas supervised by the Wilmington District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close, according to corps commanders.
The closures include engineer operated boat ramps, day-use picnic areas and campgrounds at Kerr Lake in Vance County, but not state or local operated sites.
According to Bryce Fleming, the superintendent for the Kerr Lake Recreation Area, most of the seven sites under operation by the state are closing on schedule before winter, with two remaining open.
“Our areas are operated through the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and are not effected by the federal closure,” Fleming said. “Several areas already closed after Labor Day and several more are closing at the end of the month for seasonal reasons. Nutbush and Satterwhite stay open year-round.”
According to Hank Heusinkveld, a public affairs specialist with the Wilmington District engineers office, areas under Army engineer management are heading toward closure, but they were able to stay open for a while after other federal closures.
“We’re probably going to close by Friday at noon,” he said. “We had funding on residual carryovers that allowed us to continue, but if there’s no continuing resolution this week then we’ll close, too.”
Fleming said that he has not heard any word from federal sources about any closures beyond what is directly managed by federal officials, even though the state operated areas are on federal land.
“We lease through the Corps of Engineers,” Fleming said. “We have had no such communications with them.”
The plan for Kerr Lake areas closing under Army engineer management is to shutter the day-use picnic areas and boat ramps Thursday evening, then clear out camping areas so they are closed at noon on Friday.
According to a written information release by the Wilmington District Army Corps of Engineers, the closures will take effect unless fiscal 2014 funding legislation is enacted by Congress.
The statement authorized by Col. Steven Baker, the Wilmington District Commander, confirmed that the closures would have no effect on areas operated by state or local entities.
According to a quote attributed to Baker, he understood the impacts that closures would have on people who count on using their recreation areas.
“We know that many families are repeat visitors at our lakes and campgrounds in Virginia and North Carolina, and we will reopen them for public use as quickly as possible once the government shutdown is lifted,” Baker said in a prepared statement.
Anyone who paid for reservations to use campgrounds would receive full refund or credit toward a future stay, according to the statement, and visitors are encouraged to contact other nearby recreational facilities.
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